Wednesday, October 31, 2007


As we were firming our plans to drive to Denver earlier this month, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make an afghan for Annie. That way I wouldn't have to ship it. I had less than three weeks and it seemed an ambitious project (I tend to work slowly), but I decided to give it a try. I used Caron's "Simply Soft," a yarn I haven't used previously, but the colors were right. I made a ripple afghan in two shades of pink and also white. We gave it to her last night and she immediately wrapped up in it -- which is what I had envisioned. I hope she will use it and enjoy it. My mother wanted the afghans she made to be treated with deference. She thought of them as living legacies. Fold it -- keep it -- don't use it. Not me! I want mine used so that the recipient feels the love I have for him / her through its warmth. You say you've used it up and it's not so pretty? Great! -- I'll make you another.


This morning Jack said, "You have two options; give me a trick or give me a treat." I explained that it really means give me a treat or I'll trick you. He said, "Then it should be 'treat or trick.'" I told him he had that right. / I forgot to tell you all that last Friday Grandpa Mike "helped" Annie and Jack carve their pumpkins. Annie's was based on an idea from an email forward -- a sick face with bits of candy and pumpkin seeds coming out his mouth. She entered it in the contest at the softball tournament and won second prize. Ironically, the first prize was a carved to look like a hamburger, an idea off the same forward. Anyway, Annie received a $10.00 gift certificate to Toys-R-Us. Her parents said that was a dubious blessing -- she will have to add money to that in order to buy anything worth having. Both Annie and Jack have "Brain Age" which they purchased with borrowed funds, so technically they do not have extra money at this time. / Kelly has decorated for Halloween -- a nice display. You can see the upstairs balcony through a window above the front door, which makes decorating it so worthwhile. She has Halloween lights and a "Happy Halloween" banner. One of those "vacuum" witches stands in the front yard. And she has a big pot of Halloween bite-size bars ready and waiting. / I will be making the traditional pot of Halloween chili this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yancey, Kelly and the kids had busy schedules today, so I made chicken enchiladas for dinner. Suddenly the house seemed so quiet and I had the feeling I was being watched. Check out the picture. I also baked a pumpkin spice cake -- one of my favorite recipes.

The greater Denver area is designed with many parks, bike / walking paths, and open areas, many of the parks connected by the paths. It's a great place to exercise. This morning we found a geo-cache at one such park, "Cottonwood Park." Mike dropped me at the Hobby Lobby where I spent an enjoyable half hour browsing. It's a big store as much about home decor as hobbies, and hobbies means all hobbies -- like model trains, doll houses, etc. There was some yarn and some fabric, but really not much. There were lots of Christmas decorations and I liked that but decided not to invest in breakables while traveling. Mike shopped at Gander Mountain where he bought their last bag of copper-coated shot -- something he has been seeking for years. He thought it quite a coup!

Tomorrow is our last day here -- and an important day -- Halloween! Thursday we will travel to Clint's. KW

Monday, October 29, 2007


Annie and Jack were allowed to skip school today in order to spend the day with us. We did some geo-caching this morning with Jack and Mike finding two and unable to locate a third. We had lunch at a soup and sandwich buffet (the kids' choice). The plan was for a bike ride this afternoon on some of Denver's excellent paths, but Annie didn't want to. Instead the four of us drove down town to the Denver Museum of Natural Science where we toured the Titanic exhibit which is here until January. Considering the length of time those artifacts were under water, it's amazing what was found and preserved. We returned back to the house in rush hour traffic, but Grandpa Mike valiantly perservered and we made it! The Broncos and the Green Bay Packers are playing tonight here in Denver, I think, and Mike is watching the game as I write. However, Kelly says she's had enough sports and wants a diversion tonight -- like a board game or a movie. Perhaps we'll watch a movie, The Illusionist.

GOOD NEWS!! YP saw his orthopaedist this morning and is to begin weight bearing. That temporary handicapped permit in the car is good for three months, though, and they joke that it will take them through the Christmas shopping season. KW


I had not heard of Taylor Swift prior to coming here. She is a 17-year-old "new country" singer who apparently appeals to teen and pre-teen girls. Kelly had tickets for all of us to attend a Taylor Swift concert, a special treat for Annie. The event was billed as a family night attraction at The Grizzly Rose, a country bar. The good part about YP's broken leg is that they have handicapped permits in the cars, so everywhere we go we park at the door -- and that was a good thing because the parking lot was packed as was the bar. Moving into the bar, everyone was carded -- even Gramma Kathy and Grandpa Mike. You should have seen the look on the checker's face as he examined my ID! I wanted to say, "Look, sonny, would I borrow the ID of a 58-year-old woman?" Those without ID, i.e. the youth, were marked with big black Marks-a-Lot "Xs" on the back of each hand. Finding places where we could all sit together was a challenge. We left YP in the handicapped section and Mike and I stood near him. Mike found a chair for me and then someone brought him a chair. Eventually Kelly and the kids joined us with fries and nachos. Meanwhile, this is a bar environment where adults were drinking. Taylor, the main attraction, did not come on stage until 9:30. We left before the concert was over. Annie's opinion was that Taylor is great but the place was way too small. KW


Sunday morning Kelly took Annie to the tournament so that she would be there early for practice. The rest of us left later so that we wouldn't have to sit around in waiting mode. However, Kelly called while we were on the road and said the first game was not at 10:30 but at noon. As we weren't too far out, Yancey suggested we return to the house and make sandwiches. This also provided an opportunity for him to show us some of the shopping areas. We happened to exit right near Hobby Lobby, but that store is closed on Sunday. So, we went on to Michael's where I was able to buy some yarn, etc., that I would have had to order at home. (That helps to pay for the trip, you know!) So, we made the sandwiches and recommenced the 45-minute trip to the ballfields. The Bullets won their first game but lost the second -- loser out. Annie was the catcher for the first game. The tournament was over for us about 3:00. We were home after 4:00 and retired to various activities. Some of us went for quiet pursuits but Jack and Mike ran the dogs and geo-cached. At 6:00 it was time to go to the bar for the Taylor Swift concert. Do you know who Taylor Swift is? (Next blog) KW

Sunday, October 28, 2007


You all know I barely speak the language of sports, so I'm probably not the best person to write about yesterday's activities. Annie's softball team, the Bullets, played and won their three tournament games. The games are limited to an hour and 15 minutes, and her team played at 9:00, 12:00, and 1:30. This family drives 45 minutes to reach the ballfield, and we went in two cars to accommodate scheduling needs. As it was, we left Annie with Cindy during the last game so that we could watch Jack's basketball team play at 3:00. That game tied 14 to 14. We were home about 4:15. Kelly and Mike exercised their respective dog(s) while Yancey and I worked on dinner (Warnock burgers, baked beans, and broccoli salad). Then we adjourned to the family room to watch Boston and Denver in the third game of the World Series -- a difficult game for Denverites. Today Annie's team plays at 10:30, so we're starting the day at a more liesurely pace. However, the times of other games will be contingent upon whether or not they win, and tonight we are going to "family night" at a sports bar to hear Taylor Swift sing. We aren't sure how dinner will fit into this schedule.

It has been quite warm, but yesterday morning was cool. We dressed warmly. If you watched the series on tv you know that it was cold last night, dipping into the 30s before the game was over. KW

Friday, October 26, 2007


As I write this, Annie, Jack, and Mike are carving a huge pumpkin with '60s Halloween tunes playing in the background. I hope to have a picture for this entry sooner or later. YP and Kelly both worked this morning (YP from his home office), so Mike and I took Nellie to a nearby bike path with plenty of open area for Nellie to run and jump. She had a ball! When we returned to the house, Mike worked out in the home gym. After lunch we planned meals and the four of us went grocery shopping -- also fun! YP decided to trade his crutches for a ride through the store on one of those motorized carts. You can walk faster. At 4:00 we picked up the kids and had dinner at 3 Margaritas. I ordered vegetarian fajitas and had enough left over for my lunch and Mike's! Nellie is not sure of her Colorado cousins -- Belle (a Yorkie); Harley (a female white Boxer); and Joey (a big male Boxer). They all stay in the house together when we go out and have access to a fenced yard through a pet door. Nellie hasn't figured out the pet door. She uses it when someone holds it open for her. In a moment of turmoil, one of the adults stepped on little Belle; no harm done, but Belle reacted by biting Joey! She evidently associates any pain with him. KW

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We're here!!! Mike, Nellie, and I left the farm Wednesday morning at 8:45 a.m. (PDT) and arrived at Clint's in Hagerman at 4:45 p.m. (MDT). We spent a quiet evening visiting. We appreciated Clint's hospitality.

We left Clint's this morning about 6:00. It was a hard day's drive into Denver. We were here about 7:15 p.m. or so. Yancey and Kelly did not receive Mike's email (sometimes the phone works best), so weren't expecting us this evening. But they seemed to be ready for us and graciously made us a light supper. We will see Annie and Jack tomorrow and lots of games and activities are planned over the weekend. I'll try to blog about those.

The full moon was beautiful as we drove through the mountains this evening. I couldn't help but wish I could show it to you. Then I remembered that the moon is beautiful where you are, too -- and perhaps never more beautiful than from one's own home. (Provided the sky is clear and you can see it, of course.) KW

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We arrived here at 10:30 a.m. The afternoon was beautiful and warm. After lunch I planted a package of Wal-Mart daffodils on the bank behind the house. Later I made sauce of some apples and pears and baked brownies and a meatloaf for dinner at Clint's tomorrow. He works until 5:30, so I thought it would be good to take supper.

I walked Nellie this afternoon while Mike rode his bike. He got back to the house before we did and decided to go bird-hunting, so he changed clothes, put his gun on the 4-wheeler, and met us on the lane. He called to Nellie to come with him, but she was reticent. Finally he got off the 4-wheeler, picked up the gun and showed it to her. Then she ran along behind the 4-wheeler.

I started making a Christmas tree skirt using Red Heart yarn. If you want to make a nice soft afghan for someone, consider using a different brand of yarn. I would be very unhappy if my present project were an afghan. It will be fine as a tree skirt. I'm going to check out "Vanna's Choice" or maybe some other Lion Brand yarns.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I was finishing a project this morning and decided to watch a videotape while I worked. We haven’t used the VCR in quite some time since we mostly use the DVR. To make a long story short, something happened to the tv set in the process of starting the VCR and we were unable to get anything on the screen but snow. So, on a day when we had packing and lots of other things to do, we set it all aside to get the tv fixed. Thank goodness for Mike! He called Dish twice, only to be disconnected twice during the waiting period. Then he called our Dish guy – probably four times -- but he lives in Grangeville and wasn’t much help. Finally we reasoned that if it was a tv problem, maybe we needed to talk to someone in tv repair. So, Mike called Steiner’s in Lewiston and the serviceman there was very helpful. He recommended a change in the hook-up (through the auxiliary, I think), and said this would improve our picture as well. By 11:20 we were back in business and Mike dashed to the “easy” button. Some of you probably know our tv set is 20 years old. It’s been a great set but the time has come for new technology. Anyway, as I write Mike is contentedly watching Monday Night Football.

Oh – didn’t I tell you? We’re going to Denver. We’re going as a pack – that means Nellie is going along. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave her. True to form, the plan is rather involved, making organization and packing complicated. We will go to the farm tomorrow and will stop for the night at Clint’s in Hagerman on Wednesday. I volunteered to get his supper for him, so I will do some advance cooking at the farm. Then we’ll travel from Hagerman to Yancey and Kelly’s in Thornton (Denver) on Thursday. It will be a long day of driving, likely putting us there mid-evening. The reason for the trip at this particular time is to watch Annie’s team in the softball tournament. We will also stay for Halloween.

We will start home Thursday, November 1. I hope we can stop in Boise to wish Mason a happy 7th birthday. His birthday is the 3rd.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Here’s a picture of my sewing room staged with a few of the things I have mentioned – the screen, the old Dritz pattern box, Grandma Portfors’ oak notions box, the shelves my dad made for Aunt Shirley’s doll dishes, and a pretty new box which holds doll patterns. Note Dobbin on top of the sewing cabinet. Also, note the elf on the shelf awaiting his face – and a shirt. An interest I hope to pursue is making dolls, such as rag dolls and sock dolls. I’ve been saving patterns for years. (I think if you click on the picture it will enlarge so that you can see these things.)

To see another view of my sewing area, check the previous entry, "Kathy's Vintage Sewing Room."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


In one of our woodsy spots on the north end of the property, Mike discovered some seedling fir trees. We carefully dug up five that were crowded or had established themselves in bad spots and transplanted them to the grove near the house. We have high hopes for them there..

Gardening in this place has been discouraging. For whatever reason, something in us just hates to put up a fence – whether it’s the work, the expense, the aesthetics, and/or the difficulties of mowing and maintenance. But it’s becoming abundantly clear to me that without a fence, we just as well not bother to have any sort of garden. Things actually went along pretty well until the first of September. Then the deer munched most of my 13 raspberry plants and 25 strawberry plants. And today as I watered my little garden on the south side of the house, I noticed the deer had eaten the dwarf cherry plants that had done so well this year. I could see their tracks in the dirt. Though I have never seen them close to the house, it is clear that they don’t mind approaching to nibble the plants.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Unfinished sewing and craft projects in boxes, stacks of cherished vintage needlework magazines, patterns saved for “someday,” even my dolls. It seemed stupid to keep that stuff when we moved from “the big house,” especially since most of it had to be stored. Often I thought to myself, “I should just get rid of this stuff,” but I held tightly to what I loved most, refusing to just give up on my dreams. However, I knew that unless I could establish a place as my creative center, I just as well discard it all. Out of the darkness of frustration, an idea began to take shape where all had seemed hopeless. I saw that the farmhouse “guest room,” a room just waiting for some sort of transformation to give it character, could be my sewing room. This realization brought with it the confidence that I could make it a place uniquely my own. First, we shoved the bed onto the short wall under the slope of the ceiling to maximum the standing space. Then we placed my sewing machine cabinet near the window where light and view are best. When I sew I look out over the pond and Little Canyon. I stored my stacks of project boxes in the little closet under the eaves where I can reach them. I even incorporated the walk-through closet into my plan, setting one of those “cheapy” bookcases just opposite the door. Mike reinforced the bottom shelf for my magazines; other shelves hold sewing manuals, collectibles, and pretty boxes. I repainted the frame of a vintage privacy screen and Mike helped me tack new fabric panels on it. I also cleaned and put new fabric panels on a vintage oak sewing notions box that belonged to Grandmother Portfors. The old wooden horse, “Dobbin,” a vintage toddler toy from the family collection, sits on top of the sewing cabinet. So – no more guilt, no more frustration. Thanks to all of you who provided encouragement.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It’s a copy of an upscale art magazine, “The Town Crier,” and it’s kicked around the farm forever. The copy at hand is Vol. XXI, No. 50, December 11, 1926 -- “Official publication of the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Member of the Washington State Press Association. Published every Saturday.” The intellectual articles, pictures of art, even the advertising targets an audience of wealthy city dwellers – patrons (or potential patrons) of the arts. All of it speaks of a life out of reach for an Idaho farm family. My guess is that my dad sent this magazine to his mother, perhaps as a Christmas gift. Perhaps she enjoyed it. At least she kept it – and then he kept it. And now I keep it.

My online research has been fruitless with regard to Seattle’s “Town Crier.” I learned only that the present Seattle Art Museum had its roots in the Seattle Fine Arts Society.

Tucked into the magazine is a brochure: “The Cornish School Announces Its Twelfth Annual Summer Session, July 19 to August 28, 1926.” I believe this places my dad in Seattle in 1926. Of course, the brochure provides information about the school, its courses, living arrangements for students, and promotional information about Seattle. “The famous climate of Seattle with its beautiful mountain, sea and lake scenery is attractive to the Eastern student who wishes to combine travel, vacation and work. Week ends are spent in sight seeing motor trips to Mt. Rainier, Snoqualmie Falls and other beautiful mountain resorts; boat trips to the quaint English city of Victoria and around the lakes make a recreation thoroughly enjoyable.” Under one picture in my dad’s hand is written, “This is taken from West Seattle which I wrote about.” Hallie lives in West Seattle. I sure wish I had that letter so that I could know what Daddy said about West Seattle in 1926. KW

Thursday, October 11, 2007


If you like my gooseberry pie, wait till you taste my plum cobbler . . .

Mike and I picked plums from the plum trees in the gully south of the house yesterday. We know of other stands of these trees -- on Dobson Road and also on the June Dobson property. I would like more information about these plums but my online research has been inconclusive. My basic questions are: Are these trees native or were they planted by homesteaders? What is the variety? Are they wild plums or American plums? One site said there are no wild plums in Idaho, but Grangeville’s website invites us to pick the wild plums. At one time I thought they were Damson plums, but I read that Damsons are tart. We would characterize these as sweet.

Here’s what I know: The trees are old and obviously tolerant of both cold and drought. The fruit is good right off the tree and especially so when ripe. It makes a delicious cobbler and wonderful preserves but does not dry well. The stand in the gully is a favorite with the deer; they bed down under those trees. The trees seem to bear most every year, though occasionally they don’t. I thought that was because the frost caught the blossoms, but I read that wild plums are beginning to bear every other year. The average fruit is about the size of the oval when I touch my index finger to my thumb – bigger than marbles but much smaller than the plums you buy. I would appreciate any information my learned readership can provide.

I remember Mother and Daddy canning Italian prunes when I was a youngster. I loved those, but I don’t know where the fruit came from. It’s not hard to pick. I think it’s surprising we didn’t pay more attention to those plum trees over the years. KW

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Friend Chris Miller saw our blog and comments about farm fruit and asked her husband, Dan, for the latest info on gooseberry and currant bushes. (I don't know if we call Dan a forest pathologist or a forester or what -- anyway, he's a career expert in trees and such.) He responded that they are no longer banned in Idaho, and Chris provided a University of Idaho website with lots of info. I'll try to plant a gooseberry bush in the spring -- just for the fun of it. Thanks, Chris and Dan, for the update. KW


Late last spring I ordered some bare-root stock from a mail-order nursery. Unfortunately the plants did not do well and I was upset about it, having spent more than I cared to lose. I was going to let it go, but in the end I sent an email message to the company stating my disappointment. They politely provided a credit, and I subsequently ordered iris. (I am never ordering bare-root stock again!)

Today, on this beautiful warm day, I planted the iris on the bank at the southwest corner of the house. Mike has been complaining that he can’t mow the bank and would prefer we plant it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to dig in the ground by myself, so now I’m thinking of getting some daffodils and crocus – “for naturalizing,” as the catalog says. I used plastic knives to label the iris by name.

Mike took his bike ride before lunch while the air was somewhat still. That was good thinking – the wind is gusting now though it is still warm – almost 80 degrees at 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 9! This afternoon he helped me finish a couple of projects I’ve been working on – refurbishing an old privacy screen and putting new fabric panels on a “notions” box. Both of these are rustic items that belonged to Grandma Portfors, but I decided they had a place in my life. I painted the frame of the screen and made new fabric panels, using the same fabric for panels on the notions box. Mike helped me tack the fabric in place and replace the hinges on the screen. There’s always one more thing – but I think we’re about finished. KW

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Yancey called Saturday (10-6) to say that he broke his right leg in two places -- the ankle and below the knee -- while playing softball. Apparently the ankle has been set but he is to see an orthopedist for treatment and possible pinning of the other break. This is about all the information I have at this time. As of this writing Mike and I are still planning to travel to Denver to watch Annie's tournament the weekend of October 27.


Town time includes shopping. Since shopping from the town house means a drive of at least five miles one way to the nearest shops and farther to the marts in Lewiston, such trips are carefully organized and include getting groceries and running errands. I sometimes liken it to our shopping trips to Spokane in the days of yore. My lists are organized by store and then I number them so that I’m traveling efficiently. I get the groceries last and carry a cooler for perishables. Yesterday I headed out at 9:00 and returned home after 1:00. I was tired and hungry before it was over.

A most noteworthy purchase was a Dept. 56 house for my collection, “Thanksgiving at Grandmother’s.” And I filled the back of our WRX with chrysanthemums. Mike and I have now planted 23 mums along the west and north sides of the foundation at the town house. The soil is sandy and loose here, such a contrast to the hard clay on the farm. I don’t think I’ve had a lot of luck with chrysanthemums in the past so I’m hoping for the best. KW

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Last night as I was finishing (thank goodness) my shower the water pressure started decreasing and shortly stopped altogether. Some months ago we had had a similar incident and I was able to reset the Franklin pump box out on the electric pole at the top of the lane. After drying off and getting dressed I tried that again but to no avail. Fortunately I had saved a gallon of fresh water from just after a fairly recent power outage and Kathy used some of that along with some dishwater for a sponge bath. We could refill the toilets with water from the cistern thus avoiding the outhouse.

This morning I 4-wheeled it to the top of the hill in front of the house which is the one spot I’ve found where we get good phone service. I called the pump service owner in Orofino and he suspected it was the relay. As doing the removing and installing myself would save $75 I chose that route. (Big surprise, huh?) I took pictures of the setup before removing the relay.

When I got into town I found that he didn’t even have that relay as it was an older model. Only the bookkeeper was there so we couldn’t even test it. We got the owner on the phone and he suggested I take it to Stoddard’s Electric where they could test it and might even have one. I did, it was bad, and I had to settle for the only one he had which was larger and more expensive. Hopefully it will also last longer.

Next the fun part – installation. In consulting my pictures things just didn’t look right. After a great deal of head scratching I remembered that the electrician at Stoddard’s had removed the relay plate to check the points. He had put it back on upside down which doesn’t make any difference as to how it functions but a great deal of difference in trying to match the correct orientation with my pictures. At any rate, I finally got it figured out, installed, working and hit the Easy Button.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


No more gazing off the front porch into someone else’s yard. From that vantage now all you see south of Dobson road and north of Wheeler Canyon will carry the M/W brand. We have signed a Purchase Agreement to buy the old Junius Dobson homestead property adjacent and to the east of our present property. The Dobson twins, Julian (Jack) and Junius (June) homesteaded this land in 1896. Jack’s (Kathy’s grandfather) 160 acres was an “L” shaped piece that dropped into Little Canyon on the south end and extended eastward on the rolling hills of the Camas prairie. The long portion of the “L” ran north-south on the canyon side. June’s 160 acres was square and fit into the “L” with the eastern half extending outside the “L”. When June retired he sold his homestead to a neighbor, Earl Wright, who farmed it for many years. Ella Mae Schlader and Lorraine Kachelmier inherited the land from their parents, Earl and Hazel. We have long been interested in this land, especially the 80 acres directly adjacent to ours so as to assure privacy in the future. This acquisition not only meets the privacy goal but vastly increases the hunting and recreational opportunities, bolsters the farm income, increases the impact of our conservational efforts, and appeals to our sense of heritage. It’s a beautiful piece of land with a 6 acre shelter belt running from Dobson road south to the edge of the canyon. Ya’ll come see us, ya hear.

Monday, October 1, 2007


We decided to stay in town today due to rainy weather (at last!) and a list of appointments and errands. The day started with a visit from Clinton who had spent the weekend camping with friends and was on his way home. It was good to see him! The remainder of the morning was devoted to errands and shopping. We found inexpensive chrysanthemums at Wal-mart and bought some for the front of the town house. So then we had to dig up and replant the existing "snow-in-summer" before we could plant the chrysanthemums. We hope they will flourish there and provide cover for the foundation. Time will tell.

Yesterday we attended the annual Edward Jones Pig Roast at Pioneer Park near the bandshell. We met the Nunans and the Reeces there. The barbecued meat was delicious. Invitees were asked to bring desserts. There was plenty of food!

Tomorrow we expect to head up to the farm with return on Friday. KW